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What do the all-rounders Beyoncé, Reese Witherspoon and Victoria Beckham have in common? Aside from obvious talent, enviable business acumen, and desirable closets, they share a love of timeless French manicure.
While you are undoubtedly familiar with the typically chic design, you will be surprised that the French manicure is actually not from France. It was launched in 1975 by President and CEO of Orly International Jeff Pink, who at the time was an American beauty provider and makeup artist operating in Hollywood. "The directors would complain about how long it would take to change the actresses' nail colors to match her closets for different scenes," Pink recalls. "They asked me to create a color that would go with everything. I considered treating the nail tips with white varnish. I applied them to the nail tips and then covered them with flesh-colored varnish," he explains. This natural looking nail polish design moved seamlessly between the wardrobes, reducing the time it takes to change costumes.
White nail polish was unusual and not easy to get at the time, but Pink changed everything after the studios thanked him for the money they saved for manicures and off-set times. Pink saw a smart business opportunity and started selling flesh-colored paint and an opaque white paint together. He called the set the Natural Look Nail Kit. He then glanced at Paris, where it was used for models for a fashion show. When he returned to the States, he started calling it the French manicure.
Of course, this was before Instagram, so consumers didn't have access to the beauty experts we have today behind the scenes. The French manicure really took off when two of the greatest stars of the era (and probably ever) wore the look on television. "After Cher and Barbra Streisand went on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson separate from their French manicures, people started talking about it, "Pink recalls. Carson asked Streisand about her strikingly long and precisely polished nails, and the rest is history. After Pink," after a few years, [the kit] sold like hot cakes! "
So there you have it: The 45-year-old French manicure is as American as apple pie. To date, it is a classic nail look and continues to inspire new iterations to keep up with the ever-changing color and design trends. Beyoncé, Reese Witherspoon and Victoria Beckham have long been the favorites of the Hollywood set and regularly show the design, from red carpets and boardrooms to book clubs and beach days. Scroll down a few of our favorite moments in French mani from today's biggest stars and use the perfect polishes and tools to create your own look.
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